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Stamford Fire Dept. Releases Audiotapes In Deadly Christmas Blaze

STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- Newly released audio tapes are telling of the frantic search for survivors during the deadly Christmas day fire in Stamford.  Firefighters tried to save three children and their grandparents, until the flames drove them out.

Here are some trascriptions from the radio calls:

Firefighter 1: "We need more pressure on the green line!  Give us some water!"

Firefighter 1: "We got a report from one of the victims, there's people in that window."

Firefighter 2: "We're gonna need some protection up there."

Firefighter 1: "Yeah I hear you. We gotta get in there though."

As Madonna Badger screamed "save my babies," Stamford firefighters searched for victims until the flames and the danger overwhelmed them.

Firefighter 1: "Be advised you have heavy fire right above your head.  Back out.  Back out.

Firefighter 2: "All units on the interior, all units on the interior, back out."


The loss of her parents and her children has overwhelmed Madonna Badger. Her uncle, Al McCarthy, told CBS 2 that Badger spent the past few days being treated for emotional trauma.

"I mean, my God, I was talking to her a couple times. She's like any mother, and she was a real good mother to the children.  I can't even get my head around what she's going through.  I mean she lost her whole family, there's nobody left," he said.

Meanwhile, the family of the victims are also reaching out to the countless strangers who have been sending their condolences. Demolition crews started removing the rubble of the once stately home that overlooked Long Island Sound on Thursday morning.

As the search goes on for anything salvageable, the makeshift memorial for three young sisters – 10-year-old Lily Badger and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah -- and their grandparents grows.

Many are posting their thoughts on a Facebook page created for the girl's mother and survivor of the fire Madonna Badger.

Her brother Wade Johnson responded on the site writing, "Know that your warm thoughts and words are making a difference for me and my family. Oh yeah, Dad would want me to tell you all to please check your smoke detectors."

His dad, Lomer Johnson, spent his retirement years playing Santa Claus but had spent a career as a safety chief for a large company protecting employees from fire and other danger.

His son wrote that his father, "died a hero.  I am not surprised.  Mom did too, she was in the stairwell, carrying the twins out."

Stamford's building department released blueprints for the home's renovations and says the plans called for hardwiring of a smoke and carbon monoxide detection system.

"We don't know if the devices were installed and activated," the Building Department's Robert DeMarco   said. "We  weren't there to make any final inspections."

One of the twins was found on the third floor while another was found with her grandmother, Pauline Johnson, on the stairs leading from the second floor to the third.

Lily was found in a second floor back bedroom window, just feet from her grandfather who had climbed through the window onto a flat roof, but fell through and died of head trauma.

The girls' uncle said their father, Matthew Badger, is devastated.

The other survivor Michael Borcina, who investigators say improperly placed ashes from a fireplace too close to the home sparking the blaze, was released from the hospital.

His sister told CBS 2, "Michael is doing OK... as best as he can.  The family is very sad about what happened."

The family must now face the pain of planning the funeral. The lack of success is also haunting the heroes who tried to rescue the victims.

"This is going to remain with these guys for the rest of their careers.  Our hearts and our prayers go out to that family. Believe me we're all hurting from this," said Capt. Bill Avalos Stamford Fire Department Spokesman.

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